Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Here's a tidbit from Mowabb, Eutaw, circa 1955 or 1956. In my little mining camp where I lived for seven years, (Cal Uranium), near Moab, Utah, we had power from a big ol' generator. For the first year I was there, we actually had lights, but no plumbing. The mine managers and engineers made a wrong turn in a tunnel and actually missed the uranium vein. The company went broke and we soon found ourselves the only residents in a cabin in an abandoned mining camp. The manager asked my dad to stay on and look after the place for free rent plus $150.00 per month. I was the only kid on a deserted plateau near a huge red cliff. Life was lonely but not so bad. Seven years total, living among the lizards. not so bad.

Anyway, let's get to my tidbit. When Mom, Eddie and I first arrived to join Dad, (Dec, 1953), the camp was bustling with people. Jack, Margie and little Jacqui lived in the first cabin, Curt Moran lived in the second one, we had the third one and Bob Brady had the fourth one. Everyone else lived in trailer houses scattered about. One trailer was occupied by Jan, aged eleven. I was twelve. Jan was one of these extreme "hypers". Blonde, cute, and always on the move. She took a big figurative bag of energy, controversy and contention with her everywhere she went. But she was fun.

When the mine closed, Jan moved to Moab, 35 miles away. I saw her from time to time, but she was always in one frenzied situation or another. Fast-forward about 2 years. Now I'm fourteen or so and she's 12. (My memory is tricking me.) I'm sure I was 2 years older, but who's counting? Somehow, I nonchalantly asked her if she would like to go to a movie. {Yes, Mowabb had a movie theater in 1955. Sheesh.}

We no sooner got seated when a group of four or five boys her age sat down right behind us. Ugh! Well, they started right in, pulling her hair, giggling, whispering too loudly and taunting her. She would twist in her seat and tell them what a bunch of morons they were. Their noise level kept rising. I was afraid that we were all going to be thrown out. Other patrons kept staring at us in disgust. This stuff went on for at least a half hour. My patience ran out. I worried about their incredible offense to the people around us, but I was also concerned about the complete lack of respect they were showing for Jan. She was a real fireball. She held her own quite well. Finally, I turned to them and said, "hey, can you guys hold it down a little bit?" They immediately froze in their tracks. Well, in their seats. Not a peep out of them.

We sat in silence for ten minutes or so. I was beginning to pick up on the movie. Suddenly, Jan got up and stepped out. Bathroom call? Candy bar time? Oh, no. After five more minutes the manager was standing over me, asking me to step out into the lobby. {Yes, that theater even had a lobby.} With question marks plastered all over my face, {okay, figuratively}, I followed him out. I wondered how he even knew who I was. He was angry. He told me that Jan had walked out crying. As she passed him she said, "Gene Burton has just humiliated me in front of my friends." Then, she was gone into the night.

I was understandably shocked. I told him my side of the story. He went over and filled two bags of popcorn, one for him and one for me. We talked about everything under the sun. He was easy to talk to because he was my age. His dad owned the theater. (Yes, they had popcorn in 1955.) I never did get back to the movie. But I did stay after and help him sweep up all of the mess. In those extremely ancient days people threw all of their containers and wrappers on the floor. What a chore!

He and I became such good friends that I, uh I... uh... uh can't remember his name.

Epilogue: I found out later that her mom jumped all over her. "Gene was your first real date! And you treat him like this! You should be ashamed!" etc. etc.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Blob

The time has arrived for my Halloween blob. It is all about dreams and nightmares. OR IS IT? HAhahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.... There will be three sequences. Are they true, or are they false? Heh heh. Could they be half-dreams, concocted in the mind of a retired ol' feller with too much thinkin' time on his hands? Snurk snurk.

1) I did a 10 mile hike on a hot summer day. I was exhausted, hot and sweaty. Finally, I was less than one mile from home. I wasn't sure I could finish. Suddenly a big ol' Suburban pulled up beside me. It was a friend; one whom shall remain nameless. He yelled ''hello" and offered me a ride. My heart sank. His vehicle was loaded beyond capacity. There must have been 10 or 15 people in there. Oh, did I mention that I also felt kinda, uh, smelly? I declined his offer. "Jump in. We'll make room!". I watched as all those people scrunched, wiggled, and rearranged. I climbed into a space about half my size. "Okay. I'm in!" He drove through the twisting, winding streets until we were home. HIS home. I thanked him and set out for my home.... which was MORE than one mile away.

2) I was a contestant on "Jeopardy." In Final Jeopardy, Alex gave the question (answer). "What famous building was the only one where people could drill a hole in an outside wall, pound a peg into the hole and hang a drinking cup on the peg?" Well, of course, we all missed it. Alex gave the answer (question). "It was the White house", he declared with a condescending grin. As I awakened, I wondwred if this was just for the residents or for all people who visited. That could be millions of cups. But what did it matter if this was JUST a dream? I wondered if I had really been on Jeopardy or if I had actually seen this question, concerning the earliest days of the White House, long before modern plumbing.

3) I accidentally spilled a liquid dollar bill.

Nnnighhhtmaaarre! The answer is in code. Aatbbhcceddy eewffeggrhhe iiajjlkkl lldmmrnneooappmqqs. Happy Halloween!!!